The legacy we leave to our descendants, is in the institutions we create (the hardware) and the character we impart (the software). The recent tampered US election has gotten me thinking about the kind of institutions we should build to create checks and balances, in addition to the private character-building that must take place in each family.
The socio-political hardware our generation should leave a future generation of Singaporeans are what I term the Six Fairnesses:
- Fairness of an independent judiciary.
- Fairness of an independent elected President, regardless of race or religion, who shall be a check and balance on the Government.
- Fairness of citizens regardless of sexual orientation, such as homosexuals and transsexuals, equally.
- Fairness of political competition and cessation of gerrymandering.
- Fairness of treatment in the public service, regarding the Government qua employer. The white horse/scholarship system that insulates scholars from meritocratic competition from capable on-the-ground public service members of all educational backgrounds must be abolished.
- Fairness of representation. No religious minority shall capture the decision-making arm of government, and laws must remain liberal and tolerant for all creeds and races.
The above Six Fairnesses will occur if we are to become an attractive polity for first-world citizens (Americans, expatriate Chinese, Europeans etc.) to call home. There are several hard truths about Singapore's precondition, not least its vulnerable geostrategic position, delicate balance between races, and low-birth rate. However, the above are reconciliable with those hard truths, achievable within a single administration, and politically realistic. These concerns have often been dismissed by the current PAP administration, but their dismissal relies on control of non-institutional factors, such as their long history as the ruling party of Singapore, and that they have built in informal checks-and-balances in the government. But as politics has a bitter history of showing, the fairnesses you dismiss today, are the same fairnesses you will regret not building into the system if the tables are turned, when those fairnesses are inevitably weaponized and denied to you. Institutions should be built from a position of strength, not of weakness.
A proud citizenry arises when the hearts of men and women are satisfied by a fair and great society, allied with economic prosperity and an honorable peace.